This will be a four-part blog on creating a strong, enticing, and effective ad on Craigslist. I’ll cover understanding the people who will look for your ad, what to leave out of your ad, what to add in your ad, and finally how to create a simple effective ad.
I have advertised on Craigslist since the beginning of my career (has it been 12 years already?), and over the years I’ve seen a lot of great ads, and a lot more bad ads. Let me start with a fact that Craigslist has a reputation for having inexpensive, and beginning photographers. That’s not a criticism on the photographers that advertise there, that’s the stereotype that the general public, and the press have created. That being said, that doesn’t mean all advertisers on CL are beginning or inexpensive. On the contrary, there are a lot of really good photographers there.
You just need to take that stereotype and use it to our advantage. A great example of taking advantage of your position is Avis. Hertz was the leader in car rentals with Avis a distant second. Instead of trying to fight for first place they admitted Hertz as number one, and Avis second, so they focused on being second only makes them working even harder for your business. Their slogan, “We Try Harder” is celebrating its 50 year anniversary.
Another way the CL Stereotype works to your advantage is if your work is of good quality then the “beginning” and “amateur” photographers will help make your work stand out. They actually serve a great purpose for you.
Many times people looking for a photographer (no matter their financial situation) start looking on CL. They just want to see what’s out there. Also, many people who look for photographers on CL, it will be their first time looking for a photographer. The key is crafting an ad that’s eye-catching, creative, thought provoking and positive. While sculpting a powerful Craigslist ad keep in mind these four things about potential clients looking for you.
1. Viewing at least 10 other vendors – Sadly, no matter how amazing your ad is people are shopping, that means they are comparing one vender to another. That’s why it’s critical that your ad follows the tips in part 2, 3, 4 of this blog. If your ad is better than 9 other vendors then you have a chance that a client will contact you. Of course the better the ad the better chance.
2. They are busy – This is understandable, the people that have the money to spend on you no matter how little it is either have a job, a life, a family to attend to, or all the above.
3. Don’t want to read a novel – I’ve seen so many ads that spill their guts on a photographer’s history, approach, pricing, and any other thing that they feel like adding. Really!? I’ve yet to find an ad that was amazing enough to read a full page of their services, history, approach, etc. Frankly, people don’t care enough to invest that much time on any ad.
4. Looking for the best value for their money – That’s why they go to Craigslist to see what they can get for the least amount of money, and to use it as a measuring stick if-and-when they look beyond CL. It makes sense for people with a budget to start at the “bottom” and see if they can find something that suites their needs at the economical level.